New Japan Pro Wrestling
BEST OF THE SUPER JUNIORS 26
Day 7 – Both Blocks
Kevin Kelly, Chris Charlton and Juice Robinson on commentary.
TAKA MICHINOKU vs TAIJI ISHIMORI
We get the bell and they feel each other out to start. Eye poke by TAKA who looks for Just Facelock early, Taiji fires back but TAKA goes back to the submission attempt. Taiji makes the ropes but TAKA holds on as long as he can. TAKA works the neck, hits a corner knee and a running knee to the face, and locks in a shades-of-ZSJ submission. Taiji with his corner evasion, TAKA evades Bombs Away and hits a spring spin heel kick for 2 and goes for Just Facelock again, with arms trapped, and transitions again into a very ZSJ stretch. Nice handspring enziguri from Taiji, Bloody Cross is blocked, they trade strikes and TAKA lands a thrust kick for 2. The Driver is reversed into a DDT, Taiji snaps off Bloody Cross and covers for the quick WIN.
Taiji Ishimori defeats TAKA Michinoku by pinfall via Bloody Cross
JAY’S RATING: 2.25 out of 5
A quick match that keeps Taiji dominant in his block, despite good aggression from TAKA. This was a smart way of keeping Taiji moving while also giving him some rest of his neck. Good booking there.
REN NARITA vs BANDIDO
Bandido is out with Silver King’s mask as a show of respect (RIP). We get a Code of Honor to begin, but Bandido strikes first. They run the ropes, nice amateur firemans carrys by Narita but Bandido kicks him away out of the corner. Pop up flapjack by Bandido gets 2. Chants for Bandido. Nice running basement dropkick by Bandido gets another 2. Narita catches Bandido in a body slam and drops Bandido with a tackle, they each look for suplexes but Narita slips behind and tosses Bandido with an overhead throw, covers but gets 2. The bridging belly to belly is countered, apron kick from Bandido but Narita looks for the suplex off the apron, Bandido blocks and they both get on the apron. Shots traded and Narita gets a release belly to belly onto the apron and Bandido is dumped. Narita looks for a pescado but Bandido catches it and transitions into a buckle bomb. The ref starts counting both out on the floor. Bandido back in and Narita barely makes it back. GREAT flurry from Bandido but Narita gets the knees up to block a standing shooting star and rolls Bandido up for a close 2. Backslide by Narita gets another 2. Lariat by Bandido puts Narita down for 2 and the crowd is on fire. West Knee connects, 21-Plex follows and thats the 3.
Bandido defeats Ren Narita by pinfall via 21-Plex
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
For a match so short this was pretty fucking great as a sprint, with Bandido showing again just how good he is. But Narita also showed a TON against Bandido here – its clear why NJPW has faith in Narita and included him in the tournament this year. GREAT work as the underdog fighting with real fire.
JONATHAN GRESHAM vs TITAN
We get a Code of Honor to begin. Gresham gets the arm, they trade control, Gresham is just ridiculously smooth and they get a standoff. Titan grounds Gresham and spreads the legs, they get an interesting double headstand with the legs tied together and slap each other, covers by Titan get 2 counts and Gresham bridges out of the nearfalls brilliantly. Armdrags traded, quick covers and another standoff. Nice even-match story being told. Another handshake but Titan strikes out of it. Nice cover by Titan gets 2, fires off a chop, Gresham fires back and they look to trade. Titan grounds Gresham in a stretch, chop and a cover gets 1. Nice exchange corner to corner and quick work ends in Titan hitting a nice spin kick to the head, and Titan gets a Romero Special. Gresham frees his hands and escapes, rolls Titan through and gets a kick to the arm and a Mistica to put Titan down. Gresham gets the wrist and they trade shots to the shoulder, Gresham keeps on the arm but Titan with a rollup for 2. Titan gets Gresham on the apron and hits a kick to the head but Gresham uses the arm to take Titan down and climbs, Titan cuts him off and climbs with him, they fight on top of the corner but Titan gutwrench drops Gresham on the top turnbuckle. Cover, but only 2. Rollup by Gresham gets 2, one by Titan gets 2, they work fast trading rollups with Gresham getting another 2. Mistica by Gresham with a leg trap cover gets 2, but Gresham looks for the Octopus. Titan tries to walk to the ropes, but Gresham catches both arms and pulls Titan to the ground and wrenches the arm while spreading the leg and Titan has no choice but to TAP.
Jonathan Gresham defeats Titan by submission via a grounded octopus
JAY’S RATING: 2.75 out of 5
Another quick and fun match to start the day, and VERY happy to see Gresham notch another tourney win because the dude is just MAGIC to watch in the ring. People talk about his technical side and rightly so, but its his speed and smoothness that really elevates that work to a whole other level. I cannot get enough of Gresham’s in-ring storytelling.
Respect shown by Gresham after the match.
YOH vs ROCKY ROMERO
The student vs the teacher/coach. We get a 3K salute to begin respectful, and the crowd chants for Roppongi. They feel each other out at the top and Rocky pulls an Okada rope break, but Yoh steps right to his face. They work quick and standoff. Snapmare by Rocky, they run the ropes and Rocky blocks a dragon screw, they stay ahead of each other until Yoh gets a dropkick to the knee, and puts a target on it. Yoh keeps the pressure on Rocky and works over the knee. Rocky evades a dragon screw and looks for the cross armbreaker but Yoh fights quickly to the ropes, and Rocky begins to work over Yoh’s arm. Old school knee drop to the arm by Rocky connects but he hurts his own knee on the way down. Forever Clotheslines by Rocky but the knee is hurting and Yoh can counter, but Rocky hits another move to the arm. Yoh gets draped over the top rope and Rocky lays in kicks, climbs but misses the dropkick to the back, Yoh catches Rocky’s leg and gets a dragon screw over the top rope.
Yoh throws Rocky back in fast and climbs, landing a missile dropkick to the knee. Figure Four is countered by Rocky into a cradle for 2, Rocky looks to fight back but Yoh lands a dragon screw that pulls Rocky off the top rope and looks for the Calf Crusher. BEAUTIFUL transition by Rocky into a cross armbreaker, but Yoh makes the ropes again. They trade shots, Rocky gets the rewind kick and a jumping knee, follows with a clothesline and a running Shiranui. Cover, but only 2. Rocky fires up, chants for Rocky, Shiranui is blocked and Yoh gets Helms Street for 2. Dragon suplex by Yoh is blocked but a German connects, nice bridge but only 2 for Yoh. Another dragon suplex attempt but Rocky gets a rollup for 2, Yoh with a bridging roll for 2 and Rocky goes right back to the cross armbreaker, Yoh stacks him up and gets a 2 count. BIG slap by Rocky but Yoh reverses a running lariat into the Calf Crusher again and ROCKY TAPS!
Yoh defeats Rocky Romero by submission via the Calf Crusher
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
This was a nice student/teacher matchup, with each taking on a body part and seeing who could get the tap first most of the time, with Yoh picking up a big win by tapping out his mentor. Yoh is destined for big things soon, but Rocky continues to be one of the stars of the tournament for me just because of his sheer work and storytelling.
TIGER MASK IV vs DRAGON LEE
Code of Honor starts it. Tiger gets the arm and Lee gets the ropes. Lee grounds Tiger and works the leg, Tiger transitions to an armbar and they trade on the mat and get a standoff. Tackle by Tiger drops Lee but he pops up, looks for a running rana but Tiger just DROPS him hard with a powerbomb, Lee bails but Tiger climbs and takes Lee out with a crossbody to the floor. The ref starts counting Lee out, he rolls back in and Tiger hits a crossbody but Lee rolls through for a cover and 2. Tiger shows aggression but Lee stays with him before getting caught in a tilt a whirl backbreaker. Lee gets set up top in the corner, Tiger climbs but Lee counters and they trade shots sitting up top, Tiger evades a double stomp but puts himself into a tree of woe and Lee gets a running dropkick. Hesitation dropkick by Lee connects. Lee with a butterfly backbreaker and basement dropkick, cover but only 2. Desnucadora is countered and Tiger gets a tombstone and lands the Tiger Driver, covers but only gets 2. Tiger suplex is countered but Tiger gets a cover for 2 and transitions into a seated sleeper. Transition to a fujiwara variation but Lee gets the ropes. Tiger suplex is blocked again, superkick by Lee and he gets Tiger in an STF, and Tiger gets the ropes to break. Nice exchange leads to a big knee strike by Lee, cover for 2 and Lee uncovers the knee and lands another sharp knee strike. Desnucadora follows, cover by Lee and thats the WIN.
Dragon Lee defeats Tiger Mask IV by pinfall via Desnucadora
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
Nice fire from both here, with Tiger showing some aggressiveness that we dont always see from him. Nice short and to the point showing from Lee as well as he notches another win. Those knee strikes are stiff as hell and I’m here for it.
Nice show of respect between the two after the match.
DOUKI vs BUSHI
DOUKI attacks before the bell because OF COURSE HE DOES. BUSHI fires back with a running rana that dumps DOUKI and follows with an over the top rana on the floor. Back inside and BUSHI gets the t-shirt choke, and is looking fired up. DOUKI dumps BUSHI and sends him into the corner post. The action spills deep into the crowd and DOUKI keeps on BUSHI, sending him face-first into the “West” sign on the wall of the arena. The ref begins the double count as they head back to the ring. Running double stomp by DOUKI lands, cover but only 2. BUSHI comes back with a rana off the middle but DOUKI gets a suplex and sits on BUSHI to cover, gets 2 and transitions into the double wrist-clutch foot choke, and BUSHI makes the ropes to break but DOUKI holds on and shoves the ref down for threatening the DQ. The slingshot DDT is blocked by BUSHI, they trade shots but DOUKI levels BUSHI with a lariat and covers for 2. Suplex De La Luna is countered into a rollup for 2, rewind kick by BUSHI connects and he follows with the apron DDT on DOUKI. Fisherman neckbreaker by BUSHI gets 2, Codebreaker connects next and BUSHI lines up DOUKI, lands MX and covers and thats the 3.
BUSHI defeats DOUKI by pinfall via MX
JAY’S RATING: 2.5 out of 5
A good showing from BUSHI and a decent if a little flat showing by DOUKI, and BUSHI notches 2 points. I dont mind DOUKI on the whole as I think he’s playing his character as its meant to be, but its not necessarily interesting in his portrayal either. BUSHI showed more fire and specificity here than I’ve seen in a while… I’d like to see this BUSHI show up more often in general.
YOSHINOBU KANEMARU vs SHO
YK attacks Sho before the bell because OF COURSE HE DOES. They run the ropes and Sho is able to fire back with a dropkick. Sho gets YK on the apron, sits him down and hits a basement running dropkick, then gets an apron PK with a THUD. YK keeps his distance but Sho goes after him, but YK resorts to dirty tactics and sends Sho into the crowd, and they head deep up the arena seating. Sho blocks a suplex in the aisle and clotheslines YK down, looks for a bomb or piledriver but YK counters so Sho lays in a kick. YK reverses a whip and sends Sho into a wall and then gets a snap suplex in the audience aisle. YK now heads back to the ring and Sho is going to be counted out, Sho looks to run but YK pushes a Young Lion into Sho and then scurries back inside and gets a countout WIN!
Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeats Sho by countout
JAY’S RATING: NR
I dont feel like there was enough here at the end of the day to rate, but I’m actually fine with this – YK gets on the board, and the way the countout was achieved was fun and different, with the Lion shoved into Sho to block his return momentum. And Sho doesnt have to lose any face action-wise while YK gets on the board.
ROBBIE EAGLES vs RYUSUKE TAGUCHI
Chants for Taguchi. This could be fun. They trade base counterholds to start, Taguchi with a fun headstand to escape a headscissors and applies a headlock. Taguchi does his rope running shtick, Eagles looks for the dropkick but Taguchi is a step ahead. Robbie on the apron but Taguchi blocks a kick, Eagles evades a hip attack and gets a 619 to the legs and hits a spring dropkick to the knee, covers but only gets 2 and keeps on the knee. Taguchi is sent into the corner and Robbie keeps the pressure on, but Taguchi catches him in a big Blue Thunder Bomb and Eagles bails. Spring pescado wipes out Eagles on the floor, back inside and Taguchi lands a spring hip attack and covers for 2. 3 Amigos are attempted, Taguchi gets two but Eagles tries a block, fails and Taguchi gets the third for 2. Gourdbuster by Taguchi connects, he starts channeling Nakamura, lines up Eagles who intervenes and hits the Shiranui off the ropes and covers but only gets 2. Back to the knee from Eagles but Taguchi gets a rollup for 2 and goes right for the ankle. Eagles escapes, Dodon is attempted but Eagles counters into the Ron Miller Special. Chants for Taguchi who makes the ropes. Double corner knees and seated double knees both connect hard from Eagles, bridging cover but Taguchi is out at 2. Eagles looks to fly but Taguchi evades the 450 and goes back to the ankie lock and gets low with it, then pulls Eagles back from the ropes but Eagles pops up and hits Turbo Backpack, covers but only gets 2! Nice kick series from Eagles but Taguchi gets a Gamengiri and hits Dodon’s Throne, but Eagles kicks out at 2! Taguchi is fired up, looks for Dodon, Eagles fights it off and gets a nice cover out of nowhere for the flash pin!
Robbie Eagles defeats Ryusuke Taguchi by pinfall via a rollup
JAY’S RATING: 3.25 out of 5
Another nice showing from both Taguchi and Eagles. I am so entertained by Taguchi this tournament, but Eagles is poised to be a breakout star of this year, whether he can take his block or not. Just the sheer ring work and attitude of this guy have been SHINING through, and I just find myself always wanting to see more. And a victory over a crafty vet like Taguchi is a nice win for his belt, creating a fun pseudo-upset in that outing. Well done.
SHINGO TAKAGI vs MARTY SCURLL
The stylistic difference here is going to be VERY interesting to me. Decent love for Marty in the crowd. Strong tie up to begin with Shingo showing some power advantage, as well as some hard explosiveness. Knuckle lock, Marty gets the advantage early but Shingo powers right up. Nice mat counter work from Marty but misses the arm stomp and Shingo runs through Marty with a tackle. Marty with a back elbow knockdown to drop Shingo who bails, and Marty follows up with the apron superkick, then gets the arm stomp on the apron to Shingo. Back inside and Marty hits a low dropkick, gets arm control and works the arm and fingers. Chop to the THROAT by Marty (that was fucking HIGH) sends Shingo back, and unleashes a combo in the corner and Shingo drops down. Marty now slaps Shingo who fires up and just EXPLODES on Marty and ends with a punch right to the face! Dang. Love for both Shingo and Marty, and a tornado DDT by Marty connects. Black Plague is countered and Shingo gets the stiff right and a short lariat to drop Marty. Tossing suplex by Shingo is followed by a sliding lariat, cover but only 2. Half nelson suplex dumps Shingo on his head and into a corner, Marty keeps on him and sets him up top in the corner for the superplex, Shingo fights it off but Marty keeps coming and hoists Shingo over into it. Cover, but only 2.
Marty seems to call for a Razors Edge but Shingo drops weight to block, Marty looks to build that heavyweight strength but gets backdropped. They collide with lariats, Marty hits a thudding one but Shingo fires up. Shingo gets one but Marty comes back with Just Kidding, a hand stomp, they get a nice sequence of shots with Marty landing a kneeling superkick and both are down. Shots traded hard, hard series from Shingo who looks for Pumping Bomber but Brody Lee trips Shingo up and distracts the ref allowing Marty to hit an umbrella shot and a running lariat of his own (WHAT A VILLAIN!). Cover, but only 2. Still chants for both. Chickenwing is blocked, Marty uses the ref to block and then shoves Shingo into the ref, Brody King now in the ring and hits a Black Hole Slam. Marty gets the ref and hits a folding powerbomb, covers but Shingo is out at 2. Black Plague attempted again but again the ref gets crushed in the reversal. Brody in again but Shingo fights him off and Brody levels Marty as Shingo takes out Brody with a Pumping Bomber. Marty catches a rollup off the ropes for 2 and keeps on Shingo, Shingo looks for Noshigami but doesnt quite get all of it, but follows with Pumping Bomber for 2. Last of the Dragon leads to the 3 count.
Shingo Takagi defeats Marty Scurll by pinfall via Last of the Dragon
JAY’S RATING: 3.75 out of 5
This was a very good, high action showing from both. Not sure the Brody stuff was necessary, but I do love Marty being a Villain, so it didnt take too much away for me overall. Shingo continues to look FUCKING INCREDIBLE, and I really hope NJPW sees Shingo as a long-term investment, because he’s outstanding on so many levels. Good work all around.
After the match Shingo destroys the umbrella.
EL PHANTASMO vs WILL OSPREAY
Will strikes first with a John Woo dropkick that dumps ELP, who then gets sent into the audience chairs and Will goes BALLISTIC on ELP, playing to their history together and Will’s support of ELP during his early/face years. Back inside but ELP bails again, so Will hits a suicide dive. Chants for Will. Apron PK is caught by ELP who dumps Will on the apron hard. ELP now pulls out an icepack from under the ring for a break, then swings the icepack mockingly until Will fires back and hits a flipping Bombs Away off the apron to take ELP down. ELP escapes into the crowd and Will pursues as they fight through the audience, ELP looks to escape but Will wont let him, looks for a bomb on the stairs but ELP counters. Moonsault off the arena entrance wipes out Will in the aisle. ELP now kicks Will down the stairs toward the ring, spits water in his face and lands a superkick (and then also channels a bit of Sandman before hitting a spring elbow to Will at ringside from the crowd). Back inside and ELP mounts Will, raining down shots. Will fires back with big chops, ELP comes back with his own, grabs the wrist and starts walking the ropes, walks halfway round and gets a rana. Cover by ELP but only 2.
Chinlock grounds Will, who fights up but ELP gets a dropkick for 2. ELP keeps the pressure on and slows things back down. Kicks by ELP fire up Will, they trade and Will gets the handspring enziguri. Top rope 619 by Will connects but he misses Pip Pip Cheerio, but makes it up with a hesitation dropkick in the corner and a running shooting star. Cover but only 2. ELP counters the reverse Bloody Sunday, nice evasion and ELP catches Will in a spring crossbody and lionsault and covers but only gets 2. The cutthroat tornado neckbreaker is blocked, Will with a hard chop and looks for Stormbreaker but ELP blocks and nails a nice superkick, and Will answers back with the backflip enziguri and ELP dumps outside. Will climbs and wipes out ELP with a corkscrew moonsault from the top to the floor. Back inside and Will hits Pip Pip Cheerio and covers, but only gets 2. Robinson Special connects, Will looks for the Os-Cutter but ELP catches it and gets a backslide for 2, looks for CR2, Will counters and gets a hook kick and looks for Stormbreaker but ELP gets a rollup but only gets 2. Nice exchange. BME lands PERFECTLY from ELP but still only 2.
ELP looks for CR2 again but Will drops weight to block and is able to get under ELP, ELP fights back but Will connects hard with a head kick and both are down. Chants for Will. Cheeky Nandos is countered, but Will comes back with a SICK ESSEX DESTROYER DDT, and ELP heads to the ropes. Cheeky Nandos connects, and Will hits a series of Nandos, sits ELP on his shoulders and then climbs to the 2nd rope, ELP fights back but Will gets a SUPER Iconoclasm and covers but only gets 2. Will fires up, hits a hook kick and readys the elbow but ELP dodges teh Hidden Blade, looks for a low blow but Will catches it and lays in kicks. ELP now fires up, Will hits Kawada kicks, Buzzsaw and reverse Buzzsaw but holds ELP up with his foot, looks for Os-Cutter but ELP dumps Will onto the apron. They trade shots on the apron, Will looks for an apron Stormbreaker but ELP blocks, Will gets a look in his eye and looks for a Spanish Fly off the apron. ELP holds the ropes to block and LEVELS Will with a forearm shot! Dang. CR2 on the apron is blocked, but ELP gets a piledriver on the apron instead and both tumble to the floor. The ref starts counting both out, ELP rolls in first and Will is holding his neck on the floor, finally starts to rise and barely makes it back in and ELP comes off the top with a big splash to the back! Cover, but only 2.
ELP looks for a Rainmaker but Will counters and hits a BIG Liger Bomb, covers but still can only get 2. Will fires up again for the Os-Cutter but ELP catches the spring into the tornado neckbreaker, cover but still 2 again! ELP puts his hands of the ref for the count, and Red Shoes shoves ELP right back, ducks a shot and Will catches ELP in the standing Spanish Fly, then climbs and hits an AMAZING Shooting Star Press, covers but STILL only 2! Stormbreaker attempted again but ELP catches the ref with his legs and pushes him away, drops down and gets the LOW BLOW! Rollup, but still only 2! ELP comes right back and gets the cutthroat neckbreaker, cover but WILL STAYS ALIVE! CR2 connects this time, cover by ELP and he gets the 3 count on Will Ospreay!
El Phantasmo defeats Will Ospreay by pinfall via CR2
JAY’S RATING: 4 out of 5
This was a GREAT match, and a statement made in having ELP go over Will in his very first BOSJ appearance which adds even more legitimacy to his presence as a new BC Junior competitor. Will was fucking on point as usual, but this was also easily my favorite ELP showing in the tournament (and honestly overall) so far. It just felt like he was connecting the dots so much more quickly and crisply, care was still taken without feeling like it had to be slowed down, and if ELP can keep his offense at that pace consistently, then he really does have a shit ton to offer here. His shit-eating heel is played extremely well, and this showed the execution to back it up in a way I had been craving up to this point. Really strong work, and a great win to give ELP over a heavy and perennial tourney favorite in Will Ospreay.
After the match ELP grabs a mic. The crowd cheers for ELP and he says OH, NOW you want to cheer for me. He tells anyone who is wearing an LIJ, NJPW or CHAOS hat, take it off and buy a BC hat. Because he promises that BOSJ is coming to the Headbang Club.
A strong FULL day of action from both blocks, with some very well done short and quick matches to keep things moving and a really great main event to cap things off. Definitely check out the Ospreay/ELP match, especially to see more of what ELP is capable of when he lets loose. Also, SHINGO MF’N TAKAGI. The standings after Day 7:
Taiji Ishimori: (4-0) 8pts.
Shingo Takagi: (4-0) 8pts.
Dragon Lee: (3-1) 6pts.
Marty Scurll: (2-2) 4pts.
Tiger Mask: (2-2) 4pts.
Jonathan Gresham: (2-2) 4pts
Titan: (1-3) 2pts.
Yoshinobu Kanemaru: (1-3) 2pts.
Sho: (1-3) 2pts.
TAKA Michinoku: (0-4) 0pts.
El Phantasmo: (4-0) 8pts.
Will Ospreay: (3-1) 6pts.
Robbie Eagles: (3-1) 6pts.
Ryusuke Taguchi: (3-1) 6pts.
Yoh: (2-2) 4pts.
Bandido: (2-2) 4pts.
BUSHI: (1-3) 2pts.
DOUKI: (1-3) 2pts.
Rocky Romero: (1-3) 2pts.
Ren Narita: (0-4) 0pts.